At Petaluma Dental Group in Petaluma, CA, we see patients with varying degrees of temporomandibular joint disorders, TMD. People come to us at different stages and with different situations. Some experience pain in or around the ear, while others come to us with a locked jaw.
Regardless of the severity of your TMD, at Petaluma Dental Group, we have experts who can treat it. TMD is something that we know can make life hard, and it’s our priority to make your life as comfortable as possible. We also place great emphasis on treatment with the least invasive methods possible.
The diagnosis of TMD is often easy. When you visit us, we’ll ask you a few questions before we proceed to the exam. We’ll then start assessing your joint, which can include placing our fingers on it and asking you to open and close your mouth.
X-rays and MRIs can come in handy when diagnosing TMD. X-rays are great for visualizing bones, while MRIs are the best when it comes to visualizing muscles and cartilage.
The treatment of TMD has to be efficient, fast, and as minimally invasive as possible. We can start by prescribing NSAIDs for the pain with or without muscle relaxants to ease any spasms or tension in your jaw.
We can also use ultrasound or radio waves for heat therapy. Heat stimulates blood flow, which leads to faster healing. For those with locked jaws, arthrocentesis (joint aspiration) is done to remove debris and excess fluid from the joint.
Severe TMD cases will require surgery to remove dead tissue from the joint or perform any necessary replacements. We have two methods of operating: arthroscopy or open. Open surgery is the traditional form of surgery which has an incision to allow access to the site of surgery. Arthroscopy is done using a tiny tube with a camera at the end of it. For cosmetic purposes, arthroscopy is better as the incision is very small.
TMD is hard to live with, but at Petaluma Dental Group, we have a lot to offer. With our skills and experience, you’ll be able to resume your activities without pain really soon.